Department of Human Services

NJ Human Services Announces Opioid Addiction Treatment Booklet Now Available in American Sign Language

August 9, 2022


(TRENTON) –  The New Jersey Department of Human Services today announced it has translated the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Opioid Addiction Treatment booklet into American Sign Language (ASL). This video resource is available to the deaf and hard of hearing community across the nation.

“Written medical information is not always accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing community, so at Human Services we have translated this critical medical information in order to reach deaf and hard of hearing individuals with substance use disorder in our state and across our nation,” said Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “We look forward to the positive impact this ASL video will have in the deaf and hard of hearing community and hope it becomes a model for disseminating other important healthcare information.”

“The creation of this ASL translated booklet video removes language barriers and ensures that those within the deaf and hard of hearing community who struggle with addiction have access to key medical information that can help them not only understand their addiction but start the journey of recovery,” said Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira. “All deserve the chance to begin this journey.”

This initiative comes from a collaboration between ASAM, Human Services’ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH) and Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).

 This resource was made possible by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response (SOR) grant.

“This collaboration highlights the importance of working together towards a common goal to benefit the many, both in New Jersey and beyond,” said Deputy Commissioner Lisa Asare. “Increasing the accessibility of a critical medical resource for the deaf and hard of hearing community is key to ensuring more of our residents have access to a resource that will help inform key medical decisions and start the path toward treatment.” 

The video resource is available on the Department’s YouTube page, here.

“The disease of addiction does not discriminate. Substance use disorder (SUD) can impact the deaf and hard of hearing, their friends, families and loved ones,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “We all benefit when everyone has access to the potentially life-saving resources they need.”

“We have worked together to translate a key document from the leading medical society for addiction treatment to increase accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing community,” Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Elizabeth Hill said. “It is important to widen the reach of such an important resource for those with SUD and include all New Jerseyans, including those who are deaf and hard of hearing.”

The ASAM booklet acts as a tool for clinicians to provide information to patients and their loved ones about addiction treatment. The booklet provides information on treatment overviews, assessments and medications that are available to treat addiction.

The ASL translated ASAM booklet builds on existing efforts by the Murphy Administration to make addiction treatment as accessible as possible so New Jersey residents can get the help they need.

Recently, the Department has launched a new Naloxone Distribution Program which provides eligible agencies the opportunity to request direct shipments of naloxone online anytime they need it. The Department has also recently launched ATLAS, or Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform, to connect New Jerseyans in need with appropriate addiction treatment care and deliver user-friendly information about the quality of available programs. And the 1-844-ReachNJ addiction treatment help line is available 24/7 to connect individuals with treatment.

For more information on services and programs provided by DDHH, visit here. For more information on services and programs provided by DMHAS, visit here.